To avoid another year in which I fail to get organized, on New Year’s Day 2012 I alternatively resolved to engage in community service. An Internet search for doable good deeds requiring minimal effort and time unveiled an opportunity to check off my lofty goal. Today I’m donating my column to a brief public service announcement with an urgent and timely message:
On Jan. 1, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in Michigan released the 2012 List of Banished Words. Nominated by people around the world, these words are officially expelled from the Queen’s English.
The annual tradition of the banished word list began on New Year’s Eve 1975 when LSSU’s then public relations director, W.T. Rabe, and a group of friends brainstormed – banished in 2002 – a list of words they deemed misused, over-used and generally useless. On New Year’s Day 1976, Rabe distributed the list to the media. Now anyone can nominate a word at http://www.lssu.edu/banished_word.php.
In 2012, the world wishes to silence all vocal and written utterances, ours included, of the following:
AMAZING – This egregious word overwhelmingly received the most nominations. Thanks to indiscriminate proliferation of the adjective over social media, average children, spouses, objects and events have been improperly elevated to astounding greatness.
BABY BUMP – A tabloid synonym for pregnant. Cute, but problematic when every starlet in Hollywood with even the slightest monthly bloating is fending off entertainment writers squawking like a swag of seagulls, “Baby bump, baby bump, baby bump.”
OCCUPY – Occupy nominations came in late in 2011, but made an incredibly strong showing spurred by Occupy Wall Street spinoffs such as Occupy Main Street, Occupy City Hall and Occupy the La-Z-Boy.
BLOWBACK – It means resistance to a movement. Few people have ever used this word and confusion exists about its presence on the list. Cyber-rabble has pulled a possible prank on the LSSU list makers.
MAN CAVE – Though the folks at HGTV believe that’s where males belong, hypnotized by enormous TVs and working on their beer bumps, the reference has gone as stale as the open bag of chips. Men came lumbering out of their man-cave stupors and voted.
THE NEW NORMAL – These three words justify bad trends, making people feel powerless to change them and at fault for not following them.
WIN THE FUTURE – An overused political phrase and sales coach slogan that leaves exhaustion and defeat in its wake. It’s the proverbial chasing-a-carrot-on-a-stick and the mule has decided to sit and let it come to him.
GINORMOUS –Send ridonkulous out with it.
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE – The developers of the 2012 List of Banished Words thanks you in advance for updating your vocabulary. This advance thanking makes them sound ginormously arrogant and they risk blowback from it, which is why it’s on the list.